Last week prices shot up in the retail market with consumers buying anything they could get their hands on. This week prices in the wholesale markets have dropped drastically, with an equally drastic drop in buyers. Prices of onions, garlic, palm oil, sugar and other essentials have all fallen. This drop in prices was marked on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Khatunganj wholesale market in Chattogram.
Commodity-laden vehicles lined either side of the narrow road of the wholesale market, almost blocking the market. The traders had brought in their goods before the 10-day closure announced by the government, to ensure there would be no shortage in supply.
The number of labourers at the market had dwindled too, in fear of coronavirus. The large number of good-laden vehicles had created a jam. Speaking to Prothom Alo, truck driver Mohammed Shafi who had brought in a load of turmeric from Khagrachhari, said that it took an inordinate amount of time to have the consignment released.
The traders said that during the previous week, retailers thronged the market to buy onions, but the demand had now dropped. With no buyers, the wholesalers were unwilling to hold onto their goods and reduced their prices.
Last week Indian onions sold for 60 taka per kg. This was now Tk 40, sometimes even Tk 30, depending on the quality. The price of Chinese garlic had fallen by Tk 30 per kg to Tk 125 or Tk 130. Local garlic was selling at Tk 65 to Tk 70 per kg. Chinese ginger sold at Tk 140 to Tk 150 per kg.
General secretary of the Khatunganj Hamidullah Miah Kalyan Samity, Mohammed Idris, told Prothom Alo that there was an abundance of onions, garlic, turmeric and ginger in stock. But there were no buyers and so prices had plummeted.